1336, Private, 9th Battalion, AIF.
b. 22 May 1886 Kangaroo Point., Qld.
Next of Kin: Annie Donovan of Qualtrop Street, Brisbane, Qld. – Mother.
James Donovan was 28 years old when he enlisted on 22nd December 1914. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, had good physical development with a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. His religion was noted as Roman Catholic.
On 6th May 1915 he joined the 2nd reinforcement of the 9th Battalion but was admitted to hospital withinfluenza, an illness that seemed to strike young men quickly in those early years of military service.
It is difficult to define exactly what Donovan’s role in Europe was, as through no fault of his own, his records seem to show little more than medical complaints from illnesses to injuries.
He was wounded on 6th November 1915 and was admitted to hospital in Cairo. He further suffered with an abcess on the ankle and was transferred to a hospital ship. More illness struck early in 1916 when he was admitted to hospital in Lahore, India with mumps. In 1916, Donovan was injured in battle with a bullet wound through his wrist. Another indignity of war was suffered when he was wounded in the right eye in action and was admitted to the Citadel Military Hospital at Ras-el-tin near Alexandria. After receiving a second eye wound he was returned to Australia 6th August 1917 and discharged as medically unfit.
On 15th May 1941, Donovan wrote to the records office in Canberra requesting copies of his Military Discharge Certificate as he had lost the original in a fire that destroyed some of his other personal effects. He reported at the time that he desired to do some form of war service as he had obviously recovered from his experiences during World War One and felt fit enough to tackle another war.
Regardless of his willingness to serve, James Donovan was not taken for any more overseas duty. When he died, he was buried with little fanfare or headstone in the Military Section of Woombye Cemetery. A small plinth with a military badge marks his grave site but it is not known if this is an official grave marker of the Australian War Graves Commission.
Source: National Archives of Australia
From the Genealogy Sunshine Coast publication
“AND THEIR NAMES SHALL LIVE FOREVER…”
REMEMBERING MILITARY PERSONNEL IN THE OLD MAROOCHY SHIRE CEMETERIES – BOOK 1, WOOMBYE
James is not included in the Adopt a Digger database as he falls outside our criteria of living in the district before 1925. He is included in this gallery as he has lived in the district later in his life and is commemorated on the Sunshine Coast. Importantly, as a WW1 digger he still deserves to be recognised and commemorated by our project.